News24

Cameroon's Ayah quits ruling party

2011-01-12 10:13

Yaounde - The sole challenger to Cameroon President Paul Biya for the ruling party's 2011 presidential nomination said on Tuesday he had resigned from the party after receiving death threats.

Paul Abine Ayah, a parliamentarian for the CPDM party since 2002, said he received text messages and phone calls threatening his life since announcing in December he would try to displace Biya as the CPDM candidate for the polls.

"Fearing for my life and the safety of my family, I have decided to quit the CPDM," he said in a resignation letter sent to party headquarters last week and obtained by Reuters.

Ayah said on Tuesday he would still seek to run for the presidency in this year's election, either as an independent or an opposition party candidate.

The central African oil producer is due to schedule the poll later this year and long-serving leader Biya, in power since 1982, is expected to seek another term.

Ayah has been Biya's top critic from within the ruling party and the only member to vote against a Biya-led constitutional rejig in 2008 that ended presidential term limits.

He also publicly accused Biya's camp of forming a biased electoral body - a charge the government denies.

A senior CPDM party official said Ayah's resignation "didn't come as a surprise". Officials declined comment on the record.